Truckers left with one-way ticket to ride

Alan had a full tank and was waiting to drop a load of tubing when “the call” came.
One of about 300 Arrow Trucking drivers stranded when the Tulsa-based company suddenly ceased operations Tuesday, Dec. 22, Alan had to scramble to keep himself together. Speaking from a rental vehicle 341 miles from Tulsa, Alan declined to give his last name as he returned home with his belongings hauled from inside the big tractor unit.
The trucker, who had been driving for just a few years, was told to drive the rig to the nearest Freightliner dealership and pick up a $200 bus ticket home.
“Could not drop my load on Monday because I was waiting on a repair,” he said. “Then Tuesday, they called and said the company had ceased operations for the time being.”
Alan lived in his truck and was not about to walk away from all his personal items.
“I stay out six weeks at a time,” he said. “I had everything I needed — clothes, personal items, food, a cooler, security equipment. There was more stuff than you can fit in seat of a car. What was I going to do with all that stuff?”
Abandoning it was out of the question. There was too much to bag and attempt to lug around during an extended bus trip.
“I rented a U-Haul van and am driving that home now,” he said on Dec. 23. He estimated the one-way trip would cost him $1,700.
“Yeah. I won’t be reimbursed for that,” he said, with a hint of gallows humor.
Alan doesn’t feel sorry for himself, though.
“There are guys in worse shape,” he said. “One of the guys at the truck stop did not have enough fuel to make it to Ohio (an Arrow terminal in Youngstown). I gave him 75 gallons. There were other guys stuck in the middle of nowhere.”
Rules allowed many truckers to use their fuel card not only for diesel, but as a weekly allowance, spending it on food and necessities, he said.
“They took all the money off the card left them with nothing,” he said.
Alan was not caught totally off guard, however, as he saw trouble brewing for months. Arrow had been having cash flow problems for most of the year.
“But it had gotten worse in the last few months,” he said. “If you broke down, you had to wait several days to get paid for repairs.”
Once home, Alan said he would likely draw unemployment, “for a while.”

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